'And a child shall lead them'
Children from the Junior Optimist Club read to senior citizens
Try to improve literacy in Portmore
Anthony Minott, Gleaner Writer
Senior citizens from the Friends and Family Golden Age Home in Independence City, St Catherine, were given reading lessons by 30 children from the Junior Optimist Octagon International (JOOI) Club based at the Independence City Primary School last Wednesday.
The programme was conducted under the theme 'The JOOI (pronounced 'joy') of Reading'.
Audrey Young, adviser at the Portmore club, said: "At the beginning of the club year 2009-2010, we, the Junior Optimist Octagon International (JOOI) Club of the Independence City Primary School, decided to continue with the reading project that we started last club year," she said.
"Although we have plans to lift the literacy level in and around our school community, we saw it fit to start with the senior citizens," she continued.
According to Young, the club wanted to keep to its mantra, 'Honour our parents and those to whom wisdom has come through experience', and so started its literacy programme with senior citizens.
Young, who is also a vice-principal at the school, pointed out that some of the elderly at the home had in the past helped children in the Portmore community, and so having the children reciprocate that aid was a good thing.
"The visit today was a very enriched one. The senior citizens enjoyed every moment of it. They also shared their experiences and even told them (the children) stories."
others to follow
A similar reading project involving the Holy Spirit Basic School is to follow on April 16.
"We realise that reading is not only for the young, but also for the young at heart. We believe that this is a good project," said Young.
The residents of the home were overjoyed to have the children visiting them and the atmosphere made it easier for them to share thoughts and intermingle with the children.
At the end of the day, the senior citizens asked to keep the books so they could continue reading.
"The senior citizens were fun and alive, like a group of overzealous teenagers. They knew the stories read to them and shared stories as well."
The JOOI has more than 18,500 members in more than 675 communities.
Optimist International is an association of more than 3,000 Optimist clubs around the world.